III. Upari Pannasa
5. Salayatana Vagga
Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Dialogues of the Buddha
Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers, G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon
Oxford University Press
Once when the Lord was staying at Rajagaha
in the Bamboo grove
where the squirrels were fed,
the reverend Sariputta,
the reverend Maha-Cunda
and the reverend Channa
were living on the heights of Vulture's Peak.
Channa fell sick
and was in pain and dangerously ill.
At eventide, on rising up from his meditations,
Sariputta went to Maha-Cunda
to suggest they should go and ask after Channa's condition.
So together the two went to the sick man
and after greetings
asked him  whether he was getting better
and able to hold on,
whether his pains were leaving him
and not coming on,
and whether he found himself progressing
and not losing ground with his pain.
Not at all, Sariputta;
I am not getting better but worse;
... (etc. as in Sutta No. 97) ...
I am losing ground;
my pains grow on me.
I shall use a knife on myself;
I have no wish to live.
Don't think of killing yourself, Channa.
Bear up, as we wish you to bear up.
If you lack food that will do you good,
I will get it for you;
if you lack medicines that will do you good,
I will get them for you;
if you lack a suitable personal attendant,
I myself will attend on you.
But don't think of killing yourself;
bear up as we wish you to bear up.
I have no lack of suitable food or drugs;
nor do I lack a suitable attendant.
Yes, and I  have long been a votary of the Lord
with unbroken satisfaction to myself,
as beseems a disciple.
But take it from me, Sariputta,
that I shall use a knife on myself
and that without blame attaching to me.
I should like, Channa,
if you will allow me,
to put one small point to you.
Do so, Sariputta;
and when I have heard it,
I will answer.
and in ocular perception
and in the objects of ocular perception,
do you hold that this is mine,
I am this  or
this is my Self?
Do you hold this of hearing
or the four other Senses?
I hold the precise opposite.
What is it that you see and discern
in each and every one of these
that leads you to intend what you do?
Their cessation, Sariputta.
 You must think too, Channa,
of the Lord's eternal teaching
that agitation marks the enthralled;
that the un-enthralled know no agitation;
that, if there be no agitation,
there is serenity;
that with serenity there is no craving;
that without craving
there is no round of rebirths;
that without the round of rebirths
there is no passing hence,
no arising elsewhere;
that without any passing hence
or arising elsewhere
there is no further term
in this world
and that thus alone is Ill ended for ever.
With these exhortations to Channa,
Sariputta and Maha-Cunda rose up and departed.
They had not been gone long
when Channa used the knife on himself;
and they brought the news to the Lord,
asking what future awaited Channa
and what his destiny would be.
Did not the Almsman Channa
insist on his blamelessness to you, Sariputta?
In his Vajjian village of Pubbajira
Channa's familiars and associates are all blameworthy.
No doubt, Sariputta;
but it is not in that sense
that I use the term blameworthy.
That term I apply
to a man who divests himself of this body
because he wants  another.
This was not the case with Channa,
who was blameless in using the knife upon himself.
Thus spoke the Lord.
Glad at heart, the reverend Sariputta rejoiced in what the Lord had said.